Paul Simon Restrospective a Worthy Overview of a Glorious Career

Over the Bridge of Time
Sony Legacy 88883757672
* * * * 

There’s no point to a conversation about the past six decades of songwriting if Paul Simon’s name isn’t invoked. His has been a (decidedly angelic) voice of poetry, wonderment, and explorations of the human condition. The greatest challenge of the 47-year (1962-2011) retrospective Over the Bridge of Time must have been deciding which 20 tracks to use. Producer Steve Berkowitz opted to select songs that hit the pop charts–from Simon and Garfunkel classics such as “The Sounds of Silence” and “The Boxer” straight through to 2011’s “Love and Hard Times,” with a brief stop for some of his Broadway ventures. In between lies another of Simon’s forays into world music on albums such as Graceland and The Rhythm of the Saints. Simon wasn’t the first to go global, but was there ever a timelier album than Graceland (1986), which introduced Ladysmith Black Mambazo to mass audiences just as South Africa was in the thralls of casting off apartheid? (In retrospect, those who accused him of boycott breaking and exploitation seem quite foolish.) Simon’s songs used to be taught in college poetry classes, but most of them bubble forth from the rainbow cosmopolitanism of New York City rather than ancient elegiac wellsprings. Turn a city corner and you leave one world for another–just like a Paul Simon song. Some might say he’s been a pop artist rather than a folk singer, but talk about conversations not worth having….

Rob Weir   

No comments: